Posted: November 13, 2006 By James Laube
On Saturday, a friend invited me to a dinner party and mentioned some of her friends were, well, wine geeks. No kidding. Turns out her friends, nearly a dozen, were that and more. These folks knew how to shop for gourmet breads and cheeses, cook a savory mixed grill of tri-tips, shrimp and chicken on the barbie, set tables, buy wine, pull corks and wash dishes—sometimes seemingly all at the same time.
Posted: November 13, 2006 By James Suckling
I had dinner with my father, stepmother and sister at her house in Ridgefield, Conn. My dad was visiting from San Diego, and he was really excited to try a couple of wines that he bought at the local wine shop, which apparently had “shelf talkers” with my scores attached to them.
Posted: November 11, 2006 By James Molesworth
La Beaugravière delivered fine back-to-back performances. A gateau de foie gras with truffle sauce to start, followed by an egg soufflé with truffles and a ’96 Paul Coulon & Fils Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de Beaurenard white—a perfect match.
Posted: November 10, 2006 By James Suckling
From your comments on yesterday’s blog, I am carrying on the genre in the spirit of all good and bad writers in Los Angeles. So this is how my day began. I decided to forgo Starbucks this morning in LA and head down to a coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard called Swingers.
Posted: November 10, 2006 By James Laube
If you’ve only got one bottle of a special wine, do you drink it or hold it? I'm often asked that question, and I have a couple of thoughts that merit consideration the next time you’re facing that dilemma.
Posted: November 10, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
Ed Bradley, who died this week at 65 of leukemia, was best known for his 25 years of sterling journalistic work on television's 60 Minutes. He also had an immense love of fine wine. In a 1994 interview with me, he described how he turned one bedroom in his seven-room New York apartment into a wine cellar.
Posted: November 10, 2006 By Brian Loring
In a previous blog entry about optimal berry size, Michael Donohue made the following statements: “One of the beauties of wine is that is the sole alcoholic beverage that occurs completely 'sui generis' - NO additional hops or distillation required.
Posted: November 9, 2006 By James Molesworth
Spent the day in Châteauneuf-du-Pape again today. Unlike the chilly north, the weather down here is almost summer-like—the temperature was over 70 degrees today, and the terrace at La Mere Germaine was filled up for lunch.
Posted: November 9, 2006 By James Laube
On Monday, Kapcsandy Family Winery brought in the last of the grapes for 2006 from its State Lane Vineyard in Yountville, wrapping up its fourth harvest. Earlier this year, I reviewed the winery’s debut wine , a rather oaky 2003 Cabernet-based red.
Posted: November 9, 2006 By James Suckling
I woke up this morning to offers of more than 500 cases of first growth Bordeaux, and that was only in three e-mails. I am in Southern California visiting my parents, so I haven’t even had my morning wake up java from Starbucks yet! And I feel a bit down.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By Harvey Steiman
When Bill Hatcher left his job managing Domaine Drouhin for the Drouhin family of Burgundy in 2000, he didn't know what he was going to do next. He just didn't want to run a big winery any more. Guess what? He just took on the biggest in Oregon.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By Kevin Vogt
I recently received a comment on one of my blog posts here by Paul Frank, owner of Gemstone Vineyard. Paul asked, “Kevin, if you could educate restaurant guests to avoid the one or two things that annoy sommeliers most, what might it be? Also, on the other hand, what are the things that sommeliers appreciate most from considerate and knowledgeable guests? How's that for putting you on the spot!?” Since these are such great questions, and the answers are related, I feel that they deserve their own post.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Molesworth
I left Condrieu and drove down south this morning to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The drive is a bit of a drag—a little less than two hours and no vineyards from Valence until you hit CdP itself. You know you’re close though when you see Mornas, the ruins of a rugged, 11th-century castle that sit atop a striking white cliff face.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Suckling
I just heard word from Jean-Michel Cazes, the patriarch of the family who owns Bordeaux’s Lynch-Bages among others, that he has decided to pass the reins of his wine operation to his 32-year-old son, Jean-Charles.
Posted: November 8, 2006 By James Laube
When I met with Opus One CEO David Pearson ( see my previous post ) and winemaker Michael Silacci, they had arranged for a select vertical of their wines. I had also asked Pearson, partly in jest, if we could taste the wines blind with a few ringers.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Molesworth
All this Côte-Rôtie is hard work. So I started my last day in Ampuis with a visit to some white wine producers—Château-Grillet and André Perret. Château-Grillet is a bit of a ghost wine. A property that is its own appellation (à la Romanée-Conti or Coulée de Serrant), it sits in a perfect spot in the heart of Condrieu, with ideal exposure and fine-grained, sandy, granite soils that every vigneron in the appellation drools over.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Suckling
One topic of conversation during a Lafleur tasting last Sunday in Beverly Hills was fake bottles. Many of the two dozen or so wine collectors at the tasting were upset over what they perceived as an increase in the trafficking of fake, high-end bottles.
Posted: November 7, 2006 By James Laube
On opposite walls in David Pearson’s office are two imposing photos of wine legends. One is dead. One is still alive. To Pearson’s right is a black-and-white photo of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. “His eyes follow you around the room,” says Pearson, the CEO of Opus One, acting as if it’s both reassuring and intimidating.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By Brian Loring
Matt Kramer commented in a recent column that if you’re not sure which wine to buy, you can feel confident that you’ll be getting a good wine if the grapes were grown biodynamically. Last night I saw a wine list that noted which wines were biodynamic.
Posted: November 6, 2006 By James Molesworth
Sigh. Just another day in Côte-Rôtie. I started at one of my favorite domaines, R. Rostaing. And for the first time, I actually preferred the Côte Blonde cuvée to La Landonne—in the 2004 vintage).
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